West Bengal is awaiting the central government’s nod to catch wild elephants but not kill them in the wake of deaths of 108 people in the state last year due to rampaging pachyderms.
“So many processes are going on to scientifically manage them. Two years back we wrote them and this year again in January we have asked permission to capture some of the elephants as scientific management. We do not want to kill them. We are yet to receive a response on it,” Pradeep Vyas, additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, told IANS
Vyas said there are at last 500 to 600 elephants roaming free in Bengal and the damage to crops and human lives is a “very serious” problem.
“Last year, 108 people were killed by elephants,” he said.
Earlier this week a tusker strayed into the Burdwan University campus, spreading panic among the students.
A war of words broke out on Thursday between Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi and Environment and Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar after Gandhi accused Javadekar of permitting the “killing of animals” across the country.
“In Bengal, they have permitted the killing of elephants, in Himachal Pradesh they have ordered killing of monkeys, and in Goa they gave permission to kill peacocks. I don’t understand their lust for killing animals,” Gandhi, a well-known animal rights activist, told reporters.